AcademicsGraduate AcademicsYoga Studies (Low-Residency)

MA in Yoga Studies

Master of Arts in Yoga Studies (Low-Residency)

Gain a deeper knowledge of yoga and transform your practice and life with Naropa’s Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies.

Program Overview

Naropa’s MA in Yoga Studies is intended for yoga teachers, practitioners, and enthusiasts interested in upgrading their expertise in the diverse array of teachings and practices of yoga throughout history.

During this three-year, low-residency master’s program, you will immerse yourself in yogic forms of meditation, study Buddhist and Indo-Tibetan religious traditions, and unveil knowledge of Sanskrit texts. 

This master’s in yoga consists of online courses and two residential yoga retreats held in Boulder, Colorado.

You’ll receive in-depth training in the history and practices of significant yoga lineages through a contemplative educational approach. This covers studying yoga’s role in various Indian religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sufism. Additionally, the program explores the development of “haṭha yoga” and the rise of modern yoga styles in the twentieth century, including both poses and meditation. 

Naropa’s Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies operates on a “low-residency” model, primarily delivered online with two essential in-person retreats in Boulder, Colorado. This flexible format allows you to join from anywhere, enabling you to balance your professional commitments while pursuing your degree.

The faculty at Naropa’s Yoga Studies are esteemed experts deeply dedicated to the art of contemplative teaching. Immersed in Indian culture and tradition, these educators convey the intricate principles of yogic philosophy while also imparting the profound joy that comes with practicing yoga. 

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Quick Facts

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Program Format

Naropa’s Master’s degree in Yoga is a 2.5-year, low-residency program. The degree is mainly delivered online and it features two in-person sessions in Boulder, Colorado.
Students have the flexibility to join this program from any location, allowing them to balance their work commitments as they pursue their degrees. 

The program kicks off with a nine-day on-site retreat during the first fall semester, fostering community and offering an in-person taste of the contemplative learning experience. Another nine-day retreat is scheduled in the third year’s fall semester.

Course Spotlight

Yoga/Globalization: Inception of Postural Yoga

This course delves into the origins of modern postural yoga, examining textual sources, historical contexts, and geopolitical influences. Students explore critical studies on seminal figures like Swami Vivekananda, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, and Swami Kuvalayananda. Through their primary writings, the course highlights how these pioneers navigated cross-cultural interactions. The curriculum equips students to understand how modern yoga traditions have evolved in a globally diverse landscape.

Degree
Requirements

The MA in Yoga Studies is a 40-credit, low-residency Religious Studies MA concentration, offering comprehensive training in Yoga Studies. The program is designed for students interested in doctoral programs as well as yoga teachers and practitioners. 

Students can complete the program from anywhere, as it is mostly online with two nine-day residential retreats in Colorado.

Yoga Studies (Low-Residency) 2.5 Year Degree Requirements: Non-Language Track

  • REL617e Meditation in Yogic and Tantric Traditions: A Practicum (3) [Includes Retreat]
  • REL577e The Histories and Philosophies of Yoga (3) [Includes Retreat]
  • REL507 Sanskrit I (4)
  • REL717e Meditation in Yogic & Tantric Traditions II (3)
  • REL Elective (3)

Two courses include an intensive retreat during the first few weeks of the semester

  • REL611e First Turning of the Wheel (3)
  • REL 634e Hindu Tantric (3)
  • REL Elective (3)
  • REL 645 Methods & Issues in the Study of Religion (3)
  • REL Elective (3)
  • REL Elective (3)
  • REL 530e Yoga and Globalization (3)
  • REL883E Master’s Thesis (3) (required for nonlanguage Track

Yoga Studies (Low-Residency) 2.5 Year Degree Requirements: Language Track

  • REL617e Meditation in Yogic and Tantric Traditions: A Practicum (3) [Includes Retreat]
  • REL577e The Histories and Philosophies of Yoga (3) [Includes Retreat]
  • REL507 Sanskrit I (4)
  • REL717e Meditation in Yogic & Tantric Traditions II (3)
  • REL537E Sanskrit II (4)

Two courses include an intensive retreat during the first few weeks of the semester

  • REL611e First Turning of the Wheel (3)
  • REL 634e Hindu Tantric (3)
  • REL557E Sanskrit III (4)
  • REL 645 Methods & Issues in the Study of Religion (3)
  • REL587E Sanskrit IV (4)
  • REL 530e Yoga and Globalization (3)
  • Elective (3) for Language track students

Concentration Options

Beyond its extensive curriculum in yoga studies, Sanskrit instruction, and contemplative methods, the program stands out with two unique concentrations.

Buddhist traditions

The foundational practices and teachings of Buddhism significantly influenced classical yoga. Within Naropa’s master’s program in yoga studies, there’s a dedicated exploration of this less-explored realm, highlighting the evolving traditions of Buddhist yoga within the context of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.

Study of the Yoga of Tantric Traditions

The exploration of Tantric traditions within the realm of yoga remains relatively unexplored in the broader context of yoga history. However, our curriculum delves deeply into this area, shedding significant light on its intricate nuances and contributions.

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Why Choose Naropa?

Accomplished Faculty

Our Yoga Studies faculty are are dedicated scholars deeply immersed in contemplative teaching methods. With a rich background in Indian culture and traditions, they passionately convey intricate yogic philosophies while also instilling a profound sense of wonder associated with yoga practice.

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Study from Anywhere

Naropa's three-year Master of Arts in Yoga Studies adopts a "low-residency" approach, mainly delivered online, complemented by two in-person retreats in Boulder, Colorado. Regardless of your location, you have the flexibility to join this program. Its structured pace allows you to balance your professional commitments while advancing toward your degree.

Contemplative Education

Naropa has a pioneering vision for contemplative education, inspiring the practice of yogic forms of meditation which is a cornerstone of this curriculum. The Yoga Studies program integrates the practice of meditation drawn directly from the yogic systems of the Yogasūtra, Śaiva tantra, Haṭha yoga, and Vedānta.

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How this Program Prepares You

Immersive Education

Besides delving into Sanskrit training, students will have an in-depth exploration of the origins, practices, and philosophies of prominent yoga traditions. Moreover, they will delve into a critical examination of yoga’s intersections with various Indian faiths. Additionally, the coursework traces the rise of inclusive “haṭha yoga” practices and the vibrant evolution of contemporary yoga, encompassing both physical and meditative forms.

Residential Retreats

The program includes two nine-day residential yoga retreats held in Boulder, Colorado. The first one takes place during the first fall semester, and the second one is scheduled for the third year’s fall semester. These retreats build community and offer an in-person experience of Naropa’s contemplative learning. 

Experienced Faculty

Whether you connect online or face-to-face, your instructors are committed to fostering community through insightful teachings and genuine conversations. Even as you study remotely, pursuing your yoga degree promises a memorable experience filled with community, bonding, and personal development.

What You'll Learn

Contemplative Practice

Enhance your meditation and self-awareness in yoga.

Strong Foundation in Yogic Philosophies

Understand the traditions and religions shaping yoga's teachings.

Proficiency in Sanskrit

Access Sanskrit texts that transmit invaluable teachings on yoga.

Yoga Lineage Insights

Grasp the origins and teachings of diverse yogic traditions.

Career Readiness

Explore career opportunities in yoga studies, creative entrepreneurship, sociology, and more.

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Career Opportunities with a Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies

The master’s degree in yoga studies can lead to a career in the expanding field of yoga research or creative entrepreneurial and service-oriented work in yoga communities worldwide. 

The program can also act as a pathway to doctoral programs in South Asian religions and Indology, as well as disciplines focused on modern postural yoga, such as sociology and anthropology.

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